Annual report highlights community support
New initiatives in community support have been highlighted in the Gippsland Water 2017-18 Annual Report.
Acting Managing Director of Gippsland Water, Angelo Saridis, said actions to provide greater support to people in financial hardship, the Aboriginal community, and local employment were amongst the successes for the organisation for the year.
“Improved awareness and education for both our employees and the community has significantly increased the assistance provided to customers in financial hardship. The numbers being helped have risen by over 60%,” said Mr Saridis.
“We have also introduced policies to specifically assist customers and staff experiencing family violence, with a range of measures including affordable payment arrangements.
“The value of concessions provided to pensioners and not-for profit organisations has also risen, to more than $6m.
“A milestone during the year was signing a regional agreement to promote the inclusion of Aboriginal people in training and resource management.
“We have also taken on two Aboriginal trainees.
“Respect for Aboriginal cultural heritage resulted in our completing six aboriginal cultural heritage management plans and two artefact salvages as part of works."
Mr Saridis said that there were also a number of new initiatives during the year to make it easier for customers to contact and deal with Gippsland Water.
“Some 92% of customer calls are now resolved on first contact.”
“Community consultation was undertaken in Drouin on the design and construction for the upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant, and Sale on landscape plans for the new outfall sewer pump station.
“Sponsorship of community activities continued with the emphasis on the environmental benefits of tap water over bottled water. Some 2000 Gippsland students participated in our water education programs, highlighting the need for wise water use,” said Mr Saridis.
“We are reducing our own energy use and working with our major industrial customers to improve water efficiency in their operations.”
Gippsland Water’s commitment to local economic development saw it partner with a number of organisations to keep jobs and expenditure in the Latrobe Valley.
“We have signed on to the Growing Regional Opportunities for Work (GROW) program to support new local business and employment opportunities.
“Our expenditure under Local Jobs First has risen to over $9M,” said Mr Saridis.
“Gippsland Water is part of the Gippsland community. We are pleased that we can use our role as an essential service to promote the broader social and economic well-being of the community,” said Mr Saridis.
Annual Report Highlights for 2017-18
- Drought response actions, such as water restrictions, were not required this year due to improvements in water management and operations.
- Maffra water storage facility which services 3,000 customers upgraded with new liner, pipes and drainage.
- 100-year-old water main replaced in York Street Sale at a cost of $2.8m.
- Significant progress was made on the $5m second stage of the Warragul-Moe interconnecting pipeline.
- Operation of local water and sewerage services improved with a total of nine km of water mains and eight km of sewer mains replaced during the year.
- Upgrade works on the aging conduit which supplies major towns and industries in the Latrobe Valley.
Planning for the future:
- Design completed for the upgrade to Drouin wastewater treatment plant
- Planning and design underway for new Sale outfall sewer pump station
- Design has commenced on the Coongulla-Heyfield pipeline
- Investigations and planning to replace the Mirboo North water main commenced.
- Planning has begun for a new water main to supply the western side of Warragul and Drouin.
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